Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 20/02/2015
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’: 4 out of 5
A Darker Shade of Magic is, for me, one of those strange books that feels like it’s a YA book that is trying to be more of a book for adults but falling short and ending up somewhere in the middle. The overall story feels very YA yet, every time I found myself thinking that, I would be smacked in the face by something too dark to be classed as YA. Yet that darkness only really lasted for a handful of pages and then the YA feeling came back.
That being said, I still really enjoyed the book. I liked Kell and the whole Antari magic as a whole and I liked the character of Lila Bard and how the dynamic between her and Kell worked. The writing itself was strong and enjoyable to read and the imagery flitted between very visual and vivid and falling slightly short of that vividness I had come to expect from the book.
The idea of there being multiple worlds, each one having a London and each one having various degrees of magic in their world, was very appealing to me. One thing that stood out as an excellent part of the book were the more simple things. Whether it was the power points that existed in each world and shared the same location as it does in other worlds, or whether it was something as simple as Kell’s coat of unlimited sides.
Just from the opening few chapters you can tell the author has put a lot of thought into her world/s and the ways in which each are so vastly different, yet at the same time feeling closer than I just made it sound, are a wonderful touch to the book as a whole.
I wasn’t overly fond of the villain (I won’t mention the antagonist’s name as I don’t want to spoil anything if I can help it) and every scene said villain was in just felt kind of like watching a pantomime villain. Admittedly, there were some incredibly dark and bloody moments, but parts often felt overly theatrical when it came to Kell combatting the various bad guys and gals. I think it is this that made me think it didn’t really know what age group it was aiming itself at. Not that either age group would be a problem where this particular novel is concerned, I just kind of wish it had settled on YA or not YA.
That slight negative aside, the book is an enjoyable read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and wants something a little different. Especially if they are tired of the same old magic systems and wants one that is very different.